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Dog breeding licence

  • Business

To run a dog breeding establishment, you need a licence from the local authority. You must also pay a fee.The fee covers the cost of administration, inspection and enforcement activity.

A breeding establishment means any premises where someone is in the business of breeding and selling dogs, regardless of the number of litters produced in a 12 month period.

Anyone producing five litters or more in a 12 month period should also be licenced regardless of whether they are in the business of breeding and selling dogs.

Eligibility criteria

An applicant must not be disqualified under any of the following Acts at the time of the application:

  • the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973
  • the Pet Animals Act 1951
  • the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954
  • the Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1934

Regulation summary

The Breeding of Dogs Act requires that the animals will be suitably accommodated, fed, exercised and protected from disease and fire. It is for local authorities, who have extensive powers to check on the standards of health, welfare and accommodation of the animals, to enforce the requirements of the Act.

The requirements include that bitches are not mated until they are at least one year old and that they give birth to no more than six litters in a lifetime and no more than one litter per year. Accurate breeding records must be maintained by the establishment.

The local authority may attach any conditions to the licence, may inspect the licensed premises at all reasonable times and may refuse a licence if the conditions at the premises are unsatisfactory or if the terms of the licence are not being complied with.

Further information is available from DEFRA.

Application evaluation process

Before being granted a licence the applicant must be able to demonstrate that the following criteria will be met:

  • the dogs will at all times be kept in accommodation that is suitable in respect of construction, size of quarters, number of occupants, exercising facilities, temperature, lighting, ventilation and cleanliness
  • the dogs will be adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding material, adequately exercised, and (as far as is necessary) visited at suitable intervals
  • all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent and control the spread amongst the dogs of infectious or contagious diseases, including the provision of isolation facilities
  • appropriate steps will be taken for the protection of the dogs in case of fire or other emergency, including the provision of suitable and sufficient fire fighting equipment
  • all appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the dogs will be provided with suitable food drink and bedding material and adequately exercised when being transported to or from the breeding establishment.

Each licence is subject to standard conditions which are imposed on all dog breeding establishments licensed by the council. In addition to the standard conditions a licence may also contain special conditions that are only applicable to your premises.  An inspection of the premises will be carried out to assess this. Conditions can be attached to a licence to ensure that the above requirements are complied with.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period, which is 28 days.

Apply for a dog breeding licence

Failed application redress and licence holder redress

Any person aggrieved by a refusal to be granted a licence or by any condition to which a licence is subject may appeal to the Magistrates Court and the Courts may give such directions regarding the licence or its conditions as it thinks proper.  Appeals must be made to the local Magistrates' court within 21 days.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

Anyone who has not had a satisfactory response from the trader or who has reason to believe that a breeding establishment is keeping animals in seriously inadequate conditions should raise the matter with Barnet's health and safety team.


  • Health and Safety Team
  • Barnet House, 1255 High Road, Whetstone London N20 0EJ
  • Tel: 020 8359 7995
  • FAX: 0870 889 6793
  • Email: HealthandSafety@barnet.gov.uk

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